Facing My Biggest Fear: Driving Lessons!


Today is unusually dry and warm, like a summer spell in mid-October. I am excited, scared, confident, nervous, hopeful and trembling all at the same time.

Going through the motions of getting my student’s permit at the LTO (Land Transportation Office), I struggle to focus. Feeling half out of my body, it’s as if observing myself from a distance. (“Are you really doing this? At 32 years old? Isn’t that way too late?”)

There’s the confident, go-getter me, telling myself that after all those years of procrastinating, I’m finally going to drive and enjoy doing it….and then the born-in-the-year-of-the-chicken me, who will never forget the automobile accident of 2012 when we rear-ended a bus one rainy night in Tagaytay.

Pretty terrifying. This is what our van looked like in the aftermath:


That side of me is the one who has kept my other adventurous side from actually taking lessons, even though I picked up the leaflet for this driving school ten months ago.

It’s the part of me that notices, right away, the giant sign (but how can you miss it) in the LTO waiting area: “How to avoid being the victim of carnapping, kidnapping, or hijacking.” (Gee, thanks.)

But now I’m saying, no excuses. Every day is an opportunity to learn something new, to advance, to be a better me.

I go through the motions, sign the papers, scribble my signature, have my picture taken, pay the money, and receive my student’s permit.

But I know that the actual driving hours won’t be that easy.

Growing up in Asia, I never felt the need to get behind the wheel. Public transportation, although not super convenient or comfortable, is everywhere, on every street corner.

Later, working in East Africa, I still couldn’t drive; I simply hitch-hiked, chicken-bussed my way around, or found other modes of transportation–like this handsome fellow down by the Nile.

camel nile

But it was when we moved to Europe a few years ago that I realized, immobility was like living on another planet.

Becoming a parent changed everything.

I now feel stuck not being able to drive my kids anywhere, or pick them up from school.

I feel stuck when they are sick and we can’t take ourselves to the doctor.

I feel stuck, when I could be driving them places, giving them new adventures, taking them on the road.

So my kids have actually given me the jolt I needed to go and take those driving lessons.

That, and my husband’s non-encouragement.

His joking laughter at my announcement one day—four years into marriage—to finally learn to drive; his continual pointing out my clumsiness and forgetfulness. And, his unhelpful comments before I leave the house for driving school: “Don’t crash the student car!”

So I am out to prove him wrong.

Sometimes it just takes one person like that to make you do what they say can’t be done, right?

Here goes.


(Thanks to Martine de Luna for directing me to the above poster.)






Determined to do this. For these little people; for myself.


Wish me luck, will you? (And a little prayer!)


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